Chinese traditional remedies, which have long been used to ease pain, treat disease, boost fertility, and prevent miscarriage, include herbal preparations and acupuncture.
In the first study that measures the effectiveness of both herbs and acupuncture in combination with IUI infertility treatment, Dr. Shahar Lev-Ari and Keren Sela of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Tel Aviv Medical Center said that the results show a significant increase in fertility when the therapies are administered side-by-side.
The method is as "close to nature" as possible and can be used by women employing sperm donors, or after a partner's sperm is centrifuged to enhance its motility in the uterus.
In a retrospective study, Dr. Lev-Ari and Sela followed the progress of 29 women between the ages of 30 and 45 who were receiving IUI treatment combined with TCM therapy, and compared their results to a control group of 94 women between the ages of 28 and 46 who were undergoing IUI treatment alone.
In addition to their IUI treatments, the 29 women in the first group received weekly sessions of acupuncture and a regime of Chinese medicines, which consisted of powdered or raw Chinese herbs such as PeoniaAlbae and Chuanxiong, designed to meet each woman's specific needs.
In terms of both conception and take-home baby rates, the test group fared far better than the control group. Out of the 29 women in the test group, 65.5 percent conceived, and 41.4 percent delivered healthy babies. In the control group, only 39.4 percent conceived and 26.9 percent delivered.
The vast difference in success rates is even more surprising when the age of the average participant was taken into account, Dr. Lev-Ari and Sela noted.
"The average age of the women in the study group was 39.4, while that of the control group was 37.1. Normally, the older the mother, the lower the pregnancy and delivery rates," they explained.
The study has been published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.